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Another company claiming my design

Advice on what to do

     
11:08 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I designed and built a site for a friend who had set up his own small business last year. I've just been searching on Google for sites that link to it and found that a web design company was linking to it, claiming that they did the site. Any advice on how to deal with this? I'm based in the UK (as is the web desgin company) so it would be governed by UK law.

At the moment, I've sent them a message via their contact form letting them know that I designed and built the site, and that they have 28 days to remove their reference to it before I take legal action.

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

11:16 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would guess they will take it down sharpish, but if they don't then speak to a lawyer and I would suggest getting your mate ready to confirm you built the design.

If you felt like it you could also check the other designs that the web design company claim to have made - perhaps you will find other inconsistencies.

Scott

11:51 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You gave them 28 days? I would have given them 24 hours.
You're doing fine - don't let them off the hook :)
12:00 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Normally I wouldn't be too bothered as I don't do this as a business. However, I don't want to set a legal precedent by letting them get away with it. 28 days is more than enough so they can't come back and say I didn't give them enough time.

Next step would be to contact a solicitor and try and get my legal fees paid by the web design company.

Has anyone actually gone through this procedure?

2:09 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If the linked page is php maybe you could post a special message for anyone following that referring link. That'd fix it in a jiffy.
4:02 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think you could do also the same using Javascript (check document.referrer).
8:08 am on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the suggestions, they took the link down after a few hours anyway.
8:29 am on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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28 days? 24 hours? you people are lenient.

I called someone once that stole our entire site design, customized graphics including tradmarked logo at 2pm and gave him until 5pm to take it off. They were screaming "We can't change a web site that fast!" to which I replied "I don't care if you have a web site, but my content better be off by 5pm." and it was :)

9:26 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would have been thankful for the link.
1:53 am on Apr 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would have been thankful for the link.

Thankful for a link on another design firm's website to a page you designed, wherein the design company was claiming the design was theirs? I think perhaps you misunderstood the original post.

cEM

7:56 am on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I had to take some action because it would have set a legal precedent if I had left it. I wasn't too bothered by them claiming that particular site but I have other sites that I would want to defend. If I had done nothing, I would have damaged any future claims to sites that I cared about.
10:24 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thankful for a link on another design firm's website to a page you designed, wherein the design company was claiming the design was theirs? I think perhaps you misunderstood the original post.

No, just thinking about the marketing side at the same time.

10:32 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It has nothing to do with marketing - 1 inbound link in no way compares to someone taking credit for your work. If anything, it's a huge marketing loss because any credit for the work doesn't come your way - for what - an inbound link to a site that you don't own? Don't think so somehow.
7:46 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Marketing guy is absolutely right. Whilst I would normally be thankful for any incoming links, the legal implications of this one far outweighed the SEO benefit.
4:13 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Natto one question: do you have any awareness of this customer's site work BEFORE you developed it for them?

Quite often customers will take their work to a new designer/developer without telling their previous one. Of course they don't "owe" the previous customer the courtesy, but not doing so can create many problems, including this one. I have it happen all the time, if I don't check our links regularly I find some of our work linked to new designs.

It gets worse, we have people changing to different hosts without telling us. The problem here is that everyone on our network - all our DSL/dialup customers -will see the old site on OUR servers because we were never notified to remove it from our DNS.

4:18 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The site was developed from scratch by me for a new company so nothing existed before.

I've also just heard back from the company who were claiming the site as their design. They say they know my client and did it as a favour. Seems strange as I would have thought my client (who is also a friend of mine) would have asked me to link to it, instead of someone else. Maybe my client was doing them a favour by letting them link to it (just to boost their portfolio)?

Anyway, the issue is resolved and the threat of legal action helped things along.

4:51 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It gets worse, we have people changing to different hosts without telling us. The problem here is that everyone on our network - all our DSL/dialup customers -will see the old site on OUR servers because we were never notified to remove it from our DNS.

Excuse my ignorance on this please :), but I always thought that the DNS's updated automaticaly at a time according to the hosts settings for refreshing their cache etc. Am I wrong? Do you have to notify old host or will it happen automatically anyway (whatever the time lag)?

3:46 pm on Apr 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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excell - you are correct, the dns servers update, but at each ISP their is also an internal DNS that links the request to the site.

Request for site: example.com -->
Closes DNS server to you says "managed by 123.456.345.56" (ISP/host's IP) -->
123.456.345.56 looks in their internal DNS for example.com, finds it, and returns the page.

Now the customer changes hosts. The DNS servers say "managed by 987.654.321.76", pointing to the new host.

However. Let's say you're on dialup or DSL or other bandwidth with that ISP. You're on their network. So when you request example.com and example.com has not been removed from the internal DNS, your request never leaves the network. That is, the internal DNS points you to the internal version of example.com and never sends a request to the DNS servers.

Doesn't drive into town for widgets, because we have the widgets right here! :-)